Fifty2, The MPB Project: Bi-Rite Public Label

Bi-Rite Public Label Front“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series looks at each great Private Brand with insight, analysis and original photography. In early 2014, these will be published as my first book along with several new chapters that focus on strategy, packaging and design learnings from the included brands.

I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS – brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

To submit a brand for consideration please email

Bi-Rite Public Label
The Mogannam family has owned the iconic San Francisco retailer Bi- Rite Market since 1964, with brothers Ned and Jack operating it for the first 26 years. Ned’s sons Sam and Raph spent their childhood stocking the shelves, never dreaming of owning the store one day.

They took over the store from their father and uncle in 1997. Formerly the chef/owner of his own restaurant in downtown San Francisco, Sam brought a chef’s perspective to grocery, focusing on service above all else. Today, Sam is the owner, Raph is the head grocery buyer, and Mom and Dad Mogannam still help out. The store houses a restaurant-quality kitchen and rooftop garden. The brothers also operate the Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop, Bi-Rite Farms (a working farm), Bi-Rite Catering, and 18 Reasons, a community education center.

Their commitment to customer service and food are the driving forces behind the store’s Private Brand. With tongue firmly in check the retailer embraced the bad cliché’s of private label and gave it’s brand the ironic name Bi-Rite Public Label. They imbued it with a sense of purpose and a brand positioning that redefines what a Private Brand can be by sharing WHERE the food is from, WHO produced it and HOW it was made – and letting customers taste the products before they buy, so you know it’s GOOD!

Their website boldly proclaims:

We want to turn the “private” in “private label” upside down. Our line is all about transparency: we’re sourcing the ingredients from farmers we have direct relationships with, partnering with kitchens in the Bay Area that have the capacity to can and jar larger quantities than we can, and providing the recipes ourselves. And we want to share the whole process with you. It’s part of our constant challenge to dig deeper and learn more about how food is made, minimize food waste, and make tasty foods the old fashioned way.

The retro inspired brand design is restrained and uncluttered creating a visual voice that reinforces the uniqueness of the brand and its products. Quality is paramount – many of the products are made with produce from local farms. With recipes created in the market’s kitchen, many products are made in the market kitchen while others are produced in partnership with local suppliers Happy Girl Kitchen and Community Action Marin Foodworks. In some cases, the brand uses gleaned fruits and vegetables – produce that might otherwise be left in the fields because the cost of harvest is prohibitive – purchased from farms like Mariquita near Watsonville.

Bi-Rite Public Label boldy redefines what a private label can be and in the process creates a bold and groundbreaking BRAND.

Brand: Bi-Rite Public Label
Brand Focus:
Retailer: Bi-Rite
San Francisco, California
2012 USA Retail Sales:
Private Company
2012 Stores:

To submit a brand for consideration please email


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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.